Lucrezia d'Este (1535-1598)

Portrait of Lucrezia d'Este (attributed to Federico Zuccari).

Lucrezia d'Este (16 December 1535 - 1598) was a Ferrarese noblewoman and duchess of Urbino from 1570 to 1578. She was the third daughter of Ercole II d'Este, Duke of Ferrara and his wife Renée of France, the second daughter of Louis XII of France and Anne of Brittany. She was notable as a patron of the arts - she and her younger sister Eleonora d'Este were the dedicatees of Torquato Tasso's poem O figlie di Renata (O daughters of Renata).


On 18 February 1570 she married Francesco Maria II della Rovere, Duke of Urbino, 14 years her junior. The marriage lasted eight years and the wide age-gap made it an unhappy one. Also, before her marriage Lucrezia had begun a relationship with count Ercole Contrari - this continued after the marriage and when Alfonso II discovered it he had Contrari strangled in his presence. However, Lucrezia began a new affair with count Luigi Montecuccoli.[1] In 1578 she and Francesco were granted a separation but not an annulment - Lucrezia returned to Ferrara.



  1. L. Tonelli, Tasso, Torino, Paravia, 1935, p. 72
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